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Chamber Music Festival Shines Light on Piano Masterworks

Hoeszowski trio-Masumi


By Mick Jockey

The Festival de Música de Cámara de San Miguel de Allende, a month-long celebration of chamber music, continues with an appearance by the Horszowski Trio, joined by violist Masumi Per Rostad.

The Boston Globe called the trio “elegant” and “enthralling.” Critics have described Rostad as “electrifying” and “poetic.” If you like piano music, you’re in for a special treat, as it figures predominantly in all six chamber works on display this weekend.

Friday’s program opens with Dvořák’s Piano Trio No 4 in E minor, Op 90. Dvořák composed six folk-inspired ballads—each in a different key—and wove a tapestry of abruptly shifting expressions, happy-to-sad moods, and interchanging slow and fast tempos. Ken Morrow, author of this season’s festival notes, writes, “[This is] thoughtful and introspective music that you can tap your feet to.” It´s not hard to imagine a family of Eastern Europeans sitting around a warm fireplace, reminiscing about the old country.

The trio turns next to Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No 2 in C minor, Op 66.  It’s hard to believe that only three instruments—piano, cello, and violin—can produce music as vigorous and powerful as this, but here is this dynamic piece that demands nimble, virtuosic playing.

Mr. Rostad joins the trio in Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat major, Op 47. Schumann composed this work in less than a month’s time and with his wife´s pianistic talents in mind. She adored it, calling it “beautiful…youthful…and fresh.” And so it is. The work opens ravishingly, then pulsates with a jittery energy, before it glides elegantly into a lyric grace, picking up the tempo once more before its climatic ending.

On Saturday, August 18, the trio ushers in another Schumann work, the impassioned Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 63, considered to be the most substantial of the three trios Schumann composed for piano, violin, and cello. The spotlight is again on the piano and the dexterous skill needed to play this piece. The work was performed for Schumann’s wife Clara, a highly-regarded pianist, for her twenty-eighth birthday.

Of any chamber work this season, none is more personal or political than Dmitri Shostakovich´s Piano Trio No 2 in E minor, Op 67. Written in 1944, it´s at first a lament over the death of a close friend, then outrage for the millions of lives lost senselessly in the horrific concentration camps. Like the Dvořák piece above, this piano work is informed in part by folk music.

Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No 1 in C minor, Op 15, featuring Rostad on viola, completes Saturday´s performance. It’s a breathtaking, emotionally sweeping work that Fauré composed mostly during a distressful time in his life—the demise of a five-year courtship with soprano Marieanne Viardot. You can hear shards of Fauré’s heartbreak throughout the work, which debuted on Valentine´s Day 1880; whether it’s triumphant or tragic, you´ll have to decide.

Don’t miss this superlative program of piano chamber works. Balcony seats are only 100 pesos.



Festival de Música de Cámara de San Miguel de Allende presents:

“Horszwoski Trio with Masumi Per Rostad, Viola”

Fri and Sat, Aug 17 and 18, 7pm

Teatro Ángela Peralta

Mesones 82, Centro


Teatro Ángela Peralta Box Office

ConsejoTuristico, Principal 14, Centro


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